The Wife (A David Chan Mystery, Part Eleven)

“I wonder if I say his name whether he’ll walk through that door,” Nina said.  “Sometimes I think it’s a kind of incantation.”

Chan waited.

“Well, the gentleman’s name is Byung Yu.”

David Chan did not hate people in general, the way Victor Yamamoto did.  Yamamoto would often kid him about not despising criminals enough, treating policework in a too business-like and matter-of-fact manner, rather than diving into it with a passion for vengeance.

Chan’s eyes spoke something very near hatred.

Nina scoffed.  “I see you know him.”

Indeed, Chan knew Byung Yu very well.  He also knew Lee’s wife, and his wife was not Nina Goo.

“Yes, we’ve had our dealings,” Chan remarked steadily, holding down his anger.  “But Nina, I know who Lee’s wife is, and that woman isn’t you.”

Nina scoffed.  “Right, David, I’m sure everyone assumes her to be his wife.”

Her face hardened.  “David, do you know what a Korean wife is?”

This momentarily tweaked Chan in a different direction.  His own wife Elaine had been Korean.  But, “Yes, I know the term.”

“Well, that’s what she is.”

This idea spun slowly in Chan’s head for a moment.  “He lives with her,” said Chan.  “But with a Korean wife, it’s reversed, right?  The man lives with his legal wife and maintains the other relationship on the side.”

Nina nodded.  “Yes, that’s the way it works, David, but my relationship with Byung is reversed.  It all began years ago.  You see, I was his Korean wife then, his Chinese Korean wife.”  She laughed.

This Chan turned in his mind as well.  “So you’re saying the reason why he lives with this current woman is somehow because you were his original mistress?”

“It’s not tricky.  I assume you know his father, Kang Yu?”

Chan nodded calmly, although the passionate near-hatred had finally up-shifted to speed to its full-blown destination.

“Well, Daddy doesn’t like anything that’s not Korean.”

“So because you weren’t Korean, you couldn’t be acknowledged as Byung’s wife?”


“And what happened to the wife he had when you were his mistress?”

Nina laughed.  “Good question, David.  That’s a very good question indeed.”

Beneath the surface, and he hid it well, Chan was seething.  Beginning just after he arrived in Honolulu in 1903, Kang Yu had built the largest criminal empire in the State.  Both Chan’s grandfather and his father had tried to put Kang Yu away at minimum, or ideally see him hang.  When Byung came on the scene as his father’s righthand man, Chan’s grandfather having retired, Chan’s father took on the dual task of trying to nail both Yus.  And then Chan’s father had mysteriously disappeared.  Although Kang had returned to Korea, everyone knew he still pulled the Hawai‘i strings, and even if Byung had given the order to eliminate Chan’s father, Chan was very sure the command would have come from Kang all the way over there in Wanhei, Korea.

So this was probably one more murder to chalk up to the Yus.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterMonday. On my side of O‘ahu there was no storm at all. Today’s #WritingPrompt is


Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave it as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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